JoAnn Nai-Che

06/22/1942 — 10/17/2021

From Kennewick , WA

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JoAnn Nai-Che

JoAnn (Dresser) Nai-che was born on 6/22/1942, in Pryor, OK to Norman and Helen (Smith) Dresser.  She passed away peacefully on 10/17/2021 from complications after suffering from a stroke four years ago.

JoAnn moved with her parents to Richland WA in 1943 where her father relocated to work with the Manhattan project as a cost estimating engineer.  Her parents purchased one of the first government ‘A’ houses on Van Giesen, which was kept in the family for many years.

She was a second generation Richland Bomber after her Aunt (Jo Dudley) who was one of the first graduates from Richland High School in the 1940’s.  Her family now has 5 generations of Richland High School Bomber Graduates.

She married Rich Rice in 1961. To that union they had three daughters; Natalie, Claudette and Richie who were raised in Richland. After her divorce, she met the love of her life, John (Rip) Shepherd to whom she married in 1983.  JoAnn was blessed to add two more daughters to her family, Tara and Chila.

Rip and JoAnn enjoyed an adventurous and loving marriage for 25 years before Rip passed away in 2009. Together they made a beautiful home in Kennewick where JoAnn would spend hours in the yard planting beautiful flowers, including her favorite purple Irises, and they would share summer evening dinners on the patio with Neil Young playing in the background. Rip remained the love of JoAnn’s life even until her passing.  JoAnn was especially fond of an ice cold Pepsi.

​One of JoAnn’s main passions in her life was art.  She was an artist from a very young age and later became an art teacher at her daughter’s elementary schools.  She then worked as a Graphic Artist for many years.  She was very active for many years as the artist for the stage sets for the Richland Players, the Richland Light Opera and the local children’s theater.  She involved her daughters in the theater teaching them how to paint sets and getting them involved in theatrical makeup.  She continued to share her love of art and creativity with her grandchildren throughout the years.

JoAnn was deeply involved in the Native American community which included the Yakima tribes, Oklahoma tribes and the First Nations in Canada as well as other Native American communities across the county.

She and Rip, owned, Nai-che & Assoc., (later known as, JoAnn Nai-che, LLC.), which took them all over the United States and Canada training and giving motivational presentations to many government and private sectors.  Together, they made a great team and  ​taught courses in Stress Management, Public Speaking, Train the Trainer and many motivational speaking engagements.  JoAnn was passionate about teaching the Native American communities across the USA and the First Nations communities in Canada.

She and Rip loved vacationing in Zihuatanejo, Mexico.  She carried her passion for art and teaching to the small community there where she would bring art supplies to the children and teach them how to use them.

Her love for her family was immense and she loved the children fun holidays such as Christmas and Easter because she could bring all the family together and make the holiday’s a memorable experience for all.

JoAnn is survived by her daughters: Natalie (Rice) Nai-che [Scott], Claudette (Rice) Plastino [Dave], Richie (Rice) Personett, Tara (Shepherd) Eubanks [Jeremy], Chila Shepherd.

Grandchildren: Ariel Nai-che, Jered Bonneau [Tara], Amber Carlson, Gabriel (Gabby) Keller [Justin], Chandra Plastino, Tiereny Personett [Daniel], Kaitlin Personett, Kamren Murray, Madison, Zachary & Carson Eubanks.

Great-grandchildren: Trace Nai-che, Gavin, Jaxson and Evelyn Bonneau, Avery Andrews, Kailee Keller, Peyton & Dallas Plastino, Dominik & Jadyn Church, Daniel Ahlgreen, Makenzie Frost, Maliki Murray.

Goddaughter: Cindy (Cole) Gruver

Best Friend: Tracy Reavis

Cousins: Suzanne (Dresser) Smith, Dawn (Dudley) Steffey, Pam (Dudley) Farrell

She is preceded in death by the love of her life, John (Rip) Shepherd; Mother Helen (Honey) Dresser and Father Norman (Normer) Dresser

Her internment will be held at Einan’s Funeral Home in Richland on 11/12/21 at 11:00am with a Celebration of Life event immediately following at The West Richland Golf Course Club House, 4000 Falton Drive, West Richland, WA  99353.  You may contribute to her memory book through Einan’s Sunset Gardens.

She has supported Hospice organizations for many years as they have provided many of her family members and friends with such loving support.  Hospice provided her with such loving and magnificent end of life support for which her family and friends are so grateful for.  We encourage donations be made to: Heartlinks Hospice & Pallative Care 509-837-1676.

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JoAnn Nai-Che

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  • I worked with jo ann when she and Rip presented classes to state workers in Olympia. She and Rip were the most requested instructors we ever had. I appreciated the way she gave individual attention to students when needed. She made everyone feel special. I think she was also a singer, with a small native American recording group. What a generous and productive life she had. We are all blessed for having known her.

    Carolyn Lawson
    October 29, 2021
  • The world has a giant void in it with the passing of one of the most caring people I’ve had the pleasure to know. I first met Joann in the early 60’s when we were all neighbors on Haupt Street in Richland, WA.
    Many years later my wife and I would join Joann and Rip and the “golf gang” for evening dinners and socializing in their beautiful back yard and other social gatherings. Joann was such an inspiration to all. She was loved by all, and will be truly missed.
    God bless you.

    Larry Taylor
    October 23, 2021
    Richland, WA
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